Connecticut Interfaith Coalition Looks for Change

CONECT Pushes for Jobs, Healthcare

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CONECT delegates stand in line to pledge financial support
Photo:Uma Ramiah
CONECT leaders on stage
Photo:Uma Ramiah
Faith Based Advocacy Group Takes Shape
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Faith Based Advocacy Group Takes Shape

There's a new advocacy group on the political scene these days. It's members aren't from businesses or even non-profits -- but from churches, synagogues and mosques.

There's a crowd of about 1500 people gathered at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bridgeport. Reverend Anthony Bennett of Mt. Aery Baptist Church takes the stage.

"We're looking for a new Connecticut with job training that leads to well paying and meaningful jobs. A new Connecticut where banks do right to those who are their customers, with healthcare that we can afford"

This is the founding assembly of Connecticut's largest multi-faith advocacy group: Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut -- or CONECT.

Reverend Bennet is co-chair of CONECT -- a group four years in the making. It started as a small community organizing effort between a few rabbis and pastors. Now, it boasts more than 1000 members, over $100,000 in dues and a policy platform addressing issues from predatory lending to drivers licenses for illegal immigrants.

Rev. James Manship is head of St. Rose of Lima Church in New Haven and a co-chair of CONECT. He says people of faith, Muslim, Jewish and Christian alike, can come together to change a broken system.

"My faith tradition teaches that church is not just the four walls -- that our worship impels us out into our community to be a transformative force in our families and in our communities and in our world."

CONECT joins sister organizations in Virginia, New York, Washington and Illinois. In Massachusetts, a similar group's efforts helped create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund and secured more than $2 million worth of textbooks for Boston public schools.

Information on CONECT can be found at